When I was a kid, I thought my mother ruled the planet, so much so that I believed her thoughts and feelings were more important than my own. This pull between my childhood self and the woman who would like to emerge from my childhood organizes and structures the conflict in my book Life in Flight.
This book shifts between front and back story—in the backstory of my childhood, the reader will encounter characters who are flawed, human, and compelling, for example, my mother who is a single parent who unknowingly suffers from PTSD, and my father who went to prison when I was a child for trafficking drugs. I wrote about this particular story for NPR’s This American Life. A prose version of this story exists as a chapter in Life in Flight.
In the more present tense version of the book, which takes place from 2014 through 2020, the central conflict is about the protagonist, me, who undergoes story of the book,
My name is Jennifer Schaller. I am a writer and teacher living in Albuquerque, New Mexico. I am writing a memoir, Life in Flight, about overcoming an anxiety disorder while learning to parent. The line of suspense in the story is mostly internal, and part of the central struggle in the book has to do with whether or not the protagonist (me) will be able to fully individuate from her family of origin, so that she can properly parent her own children.